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P.E.I. lobster fishers still waiting for plans for new Malpeque Harbour



SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. — With the spring 2023 lobster season underway, lobster fishers out Malpeque are as soon as once more questioning about future plans for a substitute of their harbour.

“Don’t get us mistaken, we like our harbour,” stated Chris Wall, lobster fisher and board member of the Malpeque Harbour Authority. “However for those who can’t get out to open water, it’s not a lot good.”

Yearly, the channel is dredged to assist with navigability. Nonetheless, dredging is pricey and merely a short-term answer.

The dredge was on web site clearing sediment for a couple of days in mid-April, stated Wall, including that there was not as a lot sand to be moved from the navigational channel this 12 months as in years previous.

“There’s an inside spot that’s a bit shallow or slender or harmful. Your boat will go aground and you may’t get previous that spot.” stated Wall. “However on the skin of the place they dredge, that’s essentially the most harmful spot, as a result of there’s the place you possibly can really roll your boat over if there’s large enough waves.”

Dredging at Malpeque value near $1 million within the 2022-23 season, stated a spokesperson with the Division of Fisheries and Oceans in an e mail to SaltWire.

Per the DFO, prices for dredging in 2023 are at the moment unavailable as work continues to be underway.

As a part of investments within the 2021 finances, DFO’s Small Craft Harbours program has labored with the Malpeque Harbour steering committee for the previous few years. The plan is to take a look at varied methods to handle the sediment-related points offshore and the way greatest to make the harbour extra accessible.

It cost nearly $1 million to dredge the Malpeque Harbour in 2022. Since 2021, the DFO and the Malpeque Harbour steering committee have been in talks to find a more long-term solution for fishers. – SaltWire file
It value practically $1 million to dredge the Malpeque Harbour in 2022. Since 2021, the DFO and the Malpeque Harbour steering committee have been in talks to discover a extra long-term answer for fishers. – SaltWire file

Since talks started, Wall stated he and the Harbour Authority have been concerned in at the very least three research, hoping to discover a long-term answer.

“The final research we did was actually extra intensive and checked out choices and prices and places of a brand new facility,” he stated.

At the moment, value estimates for a brand new harbour got here to $42 million unfold over 4 years. Three years of research would additionally must be carried out, as nicely, earlier than building may start.

Wall added that one other potential choice that was checked out was including a breakwater, however stated it will be costlier than relocating the harbour.

When chatting with SaltWire in Could 2023, Wall stated he was unsure about any concrete plans for a brand new harbour.

“Even when we received phrase tomorrow they have been gonna begin to construct this new harbour, it was in all probability at the very least seven years out,” stated Wall. “On the charge issues are going, they’ll doubtless preserve dredging till anyone is killed or drowned.”

Wall stated the 100-foot huge channel that was made earlier than the beginning of lobster season has since begun to fill in.

Kristin Gardiner is a reporter with SaltWire in Prince Edward Island. She may be reached by e mail at [email protected] and adopted on Twitter @KristinGardiner.

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